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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

  • A Blueprint for a sustainable energy future
  • AAAS annual meeting in review
  • Honouring an editor and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Feridun Hamdullahpur, Wilson da Silva, Jason Blackstock, Jatin Nathwani, Lauren Riga at Equinox Summit panel, Vancouver, Sunday, February 19, 2012.
A Blueprint for a sustainable energy future

By Stacey Ash, Communications Officer

A blueprint born last June at the Waterloo Global Science Initiative’s summit on energy was unveiled at an international science conference in Vancouver on Sunday.

With a horizon of 2030, the aim of the Equinox Blueprint is to act as a catalyst, spurring private and public partners to focus research and funding in five key areas that will help meet global energy needs in a safe, sustainable way.

“The Equinox Blueprint that we share with you today acknowledges that a quick fix or a silver bullet solution to growing energy needs is highly unlikely,” said University of Waterloo president Feridun Hamdullahpur (pictured above, with panel moderator Wilson da Silva and participants Jason Blackstock, Jatin Nathwani, and Lauren Riga), who introduced the plan at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Vancouver on Sunday.

“As a civilization, we must employ a range of technologies globally over time, each rooted in local contexts.”

The five-point Equinox plan calls for the development of large-scale geothermal projects, a move to safer, cleaner nuclear energy, the creation of large-scale storage for renewable energy, access to off-grid electricity for underserviced areas of the world, and more efficient use of energy through smart grid technology in urban areas.

Every two years, the Waterloo Global Science Initiative, a partnership between the University of Waterloo and the Perimeter Institute, invites people from a variety of nations, disciplines and age groups to a summit to seek solutions to a pressing global problem.

“This partnership is an example of how two organizations can combine their unique strengths for the betterment of society,” Hamdullahpur said.

The Equinox Blueprint: Energy 2030 grew out of the energy summit held in June 2011. The focus of the 2013 summit, announced at Sunday’s panel, is tackling global inequality by transforming education.

While electricity has transformed society, it is now vital to develop energy sources that can meet growing demand while reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

“The question before us is, how can science help shape this transformation,” said University of Waterloo engineering professor Dr. Jatin Nathwani, one of the panelists presenting the blueprint.

Nathwani, the director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy and an Ontario research chair in public policy and sustainable energy management, served as the summit’s science advisor.

An engaged audience at the session full of researchers and science journalists wanted to know more about how to win public support for the ideas, and how the blueprint could be turned into concrete action.

“The goal of the session was not just to produce the blueprint itself, but to produce tangible action steps the group could take forward,” said Dr. Jason Blackstock, senior fellow for energy and the environment at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo. Panel members are already putting ideas into action in their home communities, he said.

Several steps in the blueprint could be commercialized in the short term, Blackstock said, including the creation of flexible, portable solar panels to produce energy for some of the estimated two billion people on the planet without access to reliable electricity.

Nathwani said the blueprint will help create space for politicians to take hold of solutions and lead energy technologies forward. Private and public partners could work together to create demonstration of other models, including large-scale geothermal extraction sites, and energy storage options.

NDP MP Helene LeBlanc, the opposition critic for science and technology, said starting the conversation with the energy blueprint is an important first step towards sustainable change.

Photo by Stacey Ash

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AAAS annual meeting in review

by Stacey Ash, Communications Officer

Waterloo researchers played a prominent role as the world’s top science minds came together in Vancouver for the five-day American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting over the weekend.

On Sunday, University of Waterloo president Dr. Feridun Hamdullahpur gave introductory remarks at the launch symposium for the Equinox Blueprint, outlining pathways to a future when the planet's energy needs can be met without causing irreparable environmental harm. Energy expert Dr. Jatin Nathwani was a participant in the panel discussion.

Thomas Jennewein.Quantum researchers from University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing – including director Dr. Raymond Laflamme, Dr. Thomas Jennewein (right), and Dr. Martin Laforest – were featured in a pair of weekend sessions exploring the potential of quantum information technology to transform the way we communicate and understand the world.

Permanent, long-lasting energy solutions are needed immediately, and are a strategic focus for Waterloo, Hamdullahpur said Sunday. Quantum research may seem more futuristic, but is also absolutely essential, he said.

The University of Waterloo provides leading energy and quantum expertise through its research centres focused on sustainable energy, nanotechnology and quantum computing, he said.

“It shows how focused and strategic our thinking is when it comes to future generation learning and research,” he said. “We want to be a catalyst with the way we are thinking and the way we are making use of this knowledge.”

A veteran of several AAAS conferences, Institute for Quantum Computing director Dr. Raymond Laflamme said Waterloo’s strong presence stood out in Vancouver, with strong cooperation across disciplines and between Waterloo institutions.

“It does show me that there’s something magic happening at the University of Waterloo,” Laflamme said.

Laflamme, who headlined a series of quantum information lectures during and preceding the AAAS meeting, was also named an association Fellow at a breakfast on Saturday.

“I’m very humbled at the same time it impresses me that I have this community of colleagues around the world who value what I have done,” Laflamme said. He shared credit with his colleagues, and said the award reflects well on the work of the institute and the university.

“An award like this reaffirms that we’ve been going in the right direction.”

Sallie Ann Keller with Ray Laflamme and Feridun Hamdullahpur.For many Waterloo researchers, the meeting was the first opportunity to meet incoming provost Sallie Ann Keller (left, with Raymond Laflamme and Feridun Hamdullahpur), who currently works on science and technology policy with the Institute for Defense Analyses in Washington, D.C..

Keller, an AAAS fellow and a member of the program committee for the 2013 annual meeting, attended sessions featuring uWaterloo researchers and said she hopes Waterloo’s presence at the conference will continue to grow.

Mike LazaridisOn Friday, Research in Motion co-founder Mike Lazaridis (right) told a standing-room-only ballroom crowd at the AAAS meeting that his studies at the University of Waterloo taught him everything he needed to know to eventually lead the smartphone revolution.

He encouraged researchers and policymakers not to lose sight of the importance of research, especially research by young scientists where the application may not be immediately evident.

“Times are hard, and in such times it’s tempting to cut back. But we can’t afford to cut back,” Lazaridis said. “At times like these, we have to have courage, think big and be bold.

“Make a breakthrough and the impact will come. And the impact will change everything.”

It is especially important to support young scientists, he said.

“We need to have faith that what they’re doing is going to be fundamentally important, vitally important forty or fifty years from now, and we haven’t got a hope of comprehending it now,” Lazaridis said.

Photos by Stacey Ash and Brittany Stacey

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Honouring an editor and other notes

Invite for Chris Redmond's retirement event.

Chris Redmond, who edited the Gazette, the university's weekly newspaper, for three decades, and published more than 4,500 issues of the Daily Bulletin, hard copies of which are bound in green and occupy a significant amount of shelf space in his office on the third floor of Needles Hall, will be retiring at the end of the month, and colleagues and friends are being invited to celebrate his 38 years of service at a retirement party at the University Club on Tuesday, February 28, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Join in by RSVP-ing online or by calling 519-888-4567, ext. 33580.

The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce honoured Tim Jackson with the Michael R. Follett Community Leader of the Year Award at the 2012 Business Excellence Awards Gala event, held Thursday, February 16. According to the Chamber, the award "aims to recognize the contribution of local business and community leaders who have made major contributions to the community." Jackson is currently serving as interim Vice-President, External Relations at uWaterloo.

For those students considering dropping a course or withdrawing, today is the deadline for the 50 per cent tuition refund. More information is available at the Student Accounts site.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Public Affairs Specialist Brittany Stacey and Communications Officer Stacey Ash for their coverage of the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Vancouver these past few days. Their photos, tweets, and dispatches from the field were greatly appreciated.

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Link of the day

Mardi Gras

When and where

Reading Week, February 20 to 24.

Alumni and Friends Reception at the IEEE 2012 ISSCC, Tuesday, February 21, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 5:30 p.m.

Global Business and Digital Arts Family Night at the Stratford Campus, Tuesday, February 21, 6:00 p.m., Stratford City Hall Auditorium.

Chemistry Department Seminar Series featuring Prof. Jozef Haponiuk, Department of Polymer Technology, Gdansk University of Technology, Polandm, "Development of New Polyurethane Systems for Versatile Applications", Wednesday, February 22, 2:30 p.m., C2-361.

"Your 3-Pound Thinking Machine" featuring professor Jeff Orchard, Wednesday, February 22, 7:00 p.m., Mathematics 3 room 1006. Presented by the Cheriton School of Computer Science.

Digital Media Lecture: Blogging Pains, Wednesday, February 22, 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Stratford Campus.

Protect Your Health event featuring Joseph Poon, a uWaterloo student volunteering for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Thursday, February 23, 12:00 p.m., NH1116. Register by emailing UWRC@

Lunch 'N Learn event hosted by the Education Credit Union, featuring Alan Wintrip, Chartered Accountant, Thursday, February 23, 12:05 p.m., DC 1302. Sandwiches and beverages provided.

Surplus sale of furniture and equipment, Thursday, February 23, 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall.

Chemical Engineering seminar, featuring the University of Ottawa's Marc Dube, "How to Make 'Green' Even 'Greener" - from Biodiesel to Polymer," Thursday, February 23, 3:30 p.m., E6 2024.

Centre for Career Action workshop, "Excel in your career: Senior hiring managers share their secrets," Thursday, February 23, 4:30 p.m., TC 1208. Details.

Alumni event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, Thursday, February 23, 6:30 p.m. Details.

Hagey Bonspiel (40th annual) for staff, faculty, retirees and friends, Saturday, February 25, 8:30 to 4:30, Ayr Curling Club. Details.

University of Waterloo Brain Bee, Saturday, February 25, 9:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., LHI 1621.

DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel U College, “Creating Home” concert February 25 (8 p.m.) and 26 (3 p.m.), St. John the Evangelist Church, Kitchener. Details.

University senate Monday, February 27, 3:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Project Ploughshares 35th anniversary celebration, Monday, February 27, 7:00 p.m., Knox Presbyterian Church, 50 Erb St. W., Waterloo, RSVP and more information: Debbie Hughes, dhughes@, or 519-888-6541 x702.

Mid-Cycle Review Campus Update, Wednesday, February 29, 3:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Mexican Night at REVelation, Wednesday, February 29, 4:30 p.m.

uWaterloo Sun Life lecture series featuring Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators Group Limited, "Managing Risk in an Increasingly Unmanageable World," Thursday, March 1, 4:30 p.m., SAF Hagey Hall Room 1108.

University of Waterloo's Materials Research Society (MRS) Student Chapter inter-departmental mixer, Friday, March 2, 11:00 a.m., E6-2024. RSVP online.

Centre for Career Action workshop, "Re-frame your retirement," Friday, March 2, 2:00 p.m., TC 2218. Details.

Knowledge Integration Seminar featuring David Goodwin, Research Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP), Friday, March 2, 2:30 p.m., St. Paul's room 105.

19th Annual Philosophy Graduate Student Conference, featuring a keynote address by Dr. Helen Longino of Stanford University, "The Sociality of Scientific Knowledge: not just an Academic Question", Friday, March 2, 3:30 p.m., HH 334.

I2E Startathon, Friday, March 2, 5:00 p.m., Mathematics 3. Details.

The Arts Student Union presents "The Three A's of Awesome" featuring author and blogger Neil Pasricha, Friday, March 2, 7:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

International Women's Day (IWD) celebration, Wednesday, March 7, 5:30 p.m., Walper Terrace Hotel. Kitchener. For tickets and details call Jan Meier at 519-579-5051. Details.

Alumni Theatre Night featuring "Scenes from an Execution," Wednesday, March 7, 7:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, presented by the Department of Drama and Speech Communication. Details.

Reading at St. Jerome’s University: poet Julia McCarthy, Thursday, March 8, 4:30, StJ room 3014.

Fusion Science and Business conference, March 9 and 10. Details.

Drop, Penalty 1 Period ends March 12.

Waterloo Unlimited Grade 11 Design Program, Monday, March 12 to Friday, March 16.

Drop, Penalty 2 Period begins March 13.

Center for Career Action workshop "Setting Work And Life Goals," Thursday, March 15, 3:30 p.m., TC 1208. Details.

Bechtel Lecture with Professor John D. Roth Thursday March 15 and Friday March 16, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel. Details.

Knowledge Integration seminar, Luigi Ferrera, "Systems of Sharing: The Next Economy," Friday, March 16, 2:30 p.m. St. Paul's room 105.

Engineering Shadow Days, Monday, March 19 to Friday, March 30.

Centre for Career Action Webinar: Writing an A+ resume, Wednesday, March 21, 4:30 p.m. Details.

ECE Design symposium, Wednesday, March 21, 9:30 a.m. Davis Centre.

Waterloo Lecture: Homer, the Brain, and Rhetoric, hosted by the Waterloo Stratford Campus, Wednesday, March 21, 7:00 p.m., Stratford Public Library.

Co-op Student of the Year Awards, Thursday, March 22.

World Water Day Graduate Research Fair and Water Celebration, Thursday, March 22, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

University senate Monday, March 26, 3:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Warrior W.Warrior sports

Weekly report, February 20.


Friday's Daily Bulletin